Love tackles contradiction

by Craig on April 6, 2011

It was a dark time in my life. Everything – all of it – lay broken in countless shards, unfixable. The course of life forever changed, all my goals, dreams, were destroyed.

It was a long time ago.

It was during this time I left for a trip to the coast to seek hard after God for answers.

I spent days walking beaches and deserts, searching scripture, continually in prayer.

I spent nights at the UCLA Library studying history, writing to myself, and with, and to, God. This, of course, was well before my body decided to stop sleeping.

I sat in a study carrel and wrote notes, knowing no one, no longer a student.

Soon in a carol next to mine sat a girl.

Her name was Mary.

It was my mom’s name.

She was writing a paper. But she was frustrated. First I heard a sniffle. Then I saw a tear. She asked what I was studying. I told her I wasn’t a student – I was just studying God.

“You’ve graduated?”

“Long ago”

“What was your degree?”

“The BA was in Psychology, the Masters is in Theology.”

Her eyes lit up like torches. She turned her chair to directly face me – sat taller – leaned forward – and shot words rapid fire to me. (there are no periods in the following for the sake of accuracy)

“I’m  a Christian my professor hates Christianity he casts doubt on everything I’m the only one who ever talks back to him he points out contradiction after contradiction in the Bible and I fight most of them but I can’t fight anymore I don’t know the answers” and choking up a little,

“I don’t know what to do!”

This was not what I was there for, not what I expected. But I was armed to do battle with a college professor, and so why not arm Mary for the same.

So I gave her a Kleenex and said in the most reassuring way I could, “Let’s take a look at these things. Don’t worry about it. He’s wrong. There are answers.”

She grabbed her notebook in a flash. For hours we reviewed her whole semester. Each of the professor’s arguments was fatally flawed.

The different translations.
No original texts.
No proof of resurrection.
Maybe Jesus wasn’t even a real person.
He never claimed to be God.

Easy stuff!

It’s not that I’m brilliant. It’s that I was a Thomas. I struggled hard through every single doubt to claw my way to belief over many years. So I knew the answers to all her questions – only because I had to answer them for myself at one time or another.

She jotted down notes, barely able to keep up – but thrilled.

After a while I stopped her. Being the responsible adult and all, I reminded her that she was there to write a paper. She fired a glance a the clock. It was late. She became frantic.

…and again, with the no periods…

“It’s about contradictions its always about contradictions he said just answer the question explain why the sermon on the mount is called sermon on the mount when the Bible clearly says it was on the flat plain I don’t know he’s right it does say both.”

So tomorrow – Mary’s answer…with periods.

please come back.

In God’s love

 

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn April 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm

This is an awesome post. I want to hear the rest of the story!

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Craig April 6, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Thank you Dawn – it really is kinda neat how we were able to refute the claim – all we did was think, pray, and look around – I kind of have to give God the credit for it. He does good work. No? Thank you for coming by. God bless and Keep.

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Debra April 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Thank you for sharing your life with us Craig… the life that was and the life that is.
All those “contradictions” that folks use to discredit the Bible’s authority are but fruitless wiles and wasteful cogitations – as were the college professor’s spoken of here. The mockers of truth will be with us until that day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…
I am so looking forward to the sequel to this post, as you now have us absolutely hooked :)

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Craig April 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Debra – you write with eloquence I wish I had. “fruitless wiles and wasteful cogitations” – although “wiles” just reminds me of Wile E Coyote – I love him – he tries so hard – poor guy.

Anyway, it really was a good thing that happened – right place at the right time – and she gave me a sticker to put in my Bible for studying so hard – even when I didn’t have to – it’s still there. Makes me smile. God bless you Debra – and thank you for reading me.

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Brooke April 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I’ll be back!

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Craig April 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Thank you for that Becky. I remember the days when we were told never to use exclamation points – that they were too much – extraneous punctuation – I wonder what those writing teachers would say abut emoticons??? and extra question marks ???!!! ƪ(◠‿◠)╯

Thank you for reading – and God bless you Brooke.

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Debbie April 6, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I’m blown away that God had you there, and Mary there, and you had gone through so much of those doubts already . . .!!!! (had to throw in a few of those) Thank you for all the wonderful things you share about Him. God bless you and your sticker for studying. Wish we could send you a few stickers for blogging! :)

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Craig April 7, 2011 at 10:40 am

Very nice use of extraneous punctuation Debbie ƪ(◠‿◠)
Thank YOU for reading my words. And every time you read me and leave a comment it’s like a little gold star stickers ✰✰✰. I need to find that old Bible -it’s had better days – need to find it so I can take a picture of the sticker. God Bless you Deb.

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Dawn April 7, 2011 at 8:00 am

I once was where Mary was as I sat as a freshman in college meeting up with “form criticism” for the first time and a bushel basket full of other theories I never heard about in Sunday School. A young Campus Crusade for Christ minister who had studied at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland with, none other than Francis Schaeffer. This post takes me waaayyyy back to another lifetime. I’m so glad you were there, Craig. It was probably one of the defining moments in Mary’s life. I know it was for me.

Dawn B (since we have another Dawn here today, yes!)

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Craig April 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

I had a two Seminary profs that studied at L’Abri under the Schaeffers. I never really thought of this as a “moment” I hope it was – I know I still remember it like it was ten minutes ago. Thank you Dawn – Grace and Peace.

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Liz Hoyt Eberle April 7, 2011 at 11:55 am

What a thrill to be ten states away from home and still drop by your place for a moment of encouragement, a dose of peace, a spoon of hope, and a sip of faith. Love this piece and will be back, whether from Texas doing my everyday stuff or from Kentucky hugging my granddaughter. I love your testimonies of walking the talk. Amazing what happens when we go where God leads. Can’t wait for the rest of the story and all the !!!! that are oh so necessary.

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Craig April 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Liz, what an encouragement. Thank you!!!!! (5 of them – one more than you – but who’s counting (◠‿◠) God bless you and all of yours – Godspeed in your traveling. I do try to walk the talk – more now than ever. Thank you again – Grace.

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A. April 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I am glad I don’t have to wait until ‘tomorrow’ to get the rest of the story! The only blessing of being late to ‘class’. :) On my way to tomorrow right now!

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Craig April 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Well by now you’ve gotten the Friday “surprise” Thank you for being here – and there. God Bless you A.

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Sharon @ Hiking Toward Home April 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I’m late with A. headed to next class… (this is good!)

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